SQL is our brain

Engineering Sep 18, 2020

SQL is a standard tooling for data analytic. And it is quite easy to learn. My company at early days only had very few colleagues able to use SQL, but very quickly, we want to popularize this skill to all of teams, so that they can do data analytics for daily routine tasks instead of waiting tech/bi teams to provide data in csv format. After for a while, this initiative really worked. All teams and AhaMovers love to learn and use SQL. Wow this is a huge success because we can build a data-driven organization based on SQL-skilled staffs.

And we think, we can utilize SQL more, why we only use SQL for analytics but not data-driven actions. We found that SQL is a very good language to describe business logic at mass in a dynamic and productive way that AhaMovers can easily catch up and agree to each other, in comparison with coding or documenting or any ways else. Moreover, we have thousands orders, customers and drivers every day, it would be great to use SQL to quickly select the right targets for the right actions.

So, we decided to build an automation system based on the well-known principle called "If This Then That" inspired by IFTTT, Zapier, etc... In this model, our tech team will build predefined actions such as push notification, update info, create voucher, and so many actions we can think of. You can imagine our actions are lego blocks with a special thing, the target of these actions will be defined by a SQL query written by our non-tech team. As a result, any AhaMover can see automation job as a creative game of expressing their logic in SQL, then feed it into action blocks, plug them together to fulfill their expectation. These activities are really interesting to transform a complicated task into a more friendly, funny and productive activity. Also, this way helps us to reduce the intervention of tech team at most, and give non-tech teams freedom to design their own missions such as short-term campaigns/policies/programs.

Complex automation scenarios

Nowadays, we have thousands of scenarios running nearly half of million tasks monthly, even many of them can take effect to many stakeholders at once. Some colleagues also spent time to decorate their flow as interesting and creative as we can see here. SQL is truly our operational brain.

Discussion: A big challenge of a logistic tech startup is the heavy operation behind every booking at front-side, and automation is the key factor to ease such burden. On the other hand, the hardest thing of this success is not about technologies, but about changing our working mindset towards SQL.